While they are a force to reckon visually as actors, unfortunately, that is not the case behind the scenes. In fact, the number of female serial directors are only a handful while the majority is dominated by their male counterparts. Though several female makers are working as assistants and associates, very few eventually end up choosing to be an independent director. Either they choose movies or quit the industry for good. Bengaluru Chronicle reports on this sad state of affairs.
“It is the same case with movies which has always been dominated by men in every department. During the initial days where working in movies was not considered respectful, the trend of male actors portraying female characters prevailed in movies just like in the case of theatre. As the situation changed with movies being considered as fine art, female film makers too started to impress but their numbers have always been on the lower side. Ironically, television which is widely known as the main source of entertainment, mainly targeting family audiences, the number of female technicians working in the industry is negligible. Though some are coming into the picture, a lot needs to be done to encourage them in exploring their technical skills and not merely restrict them as performing artists,” says senior critic Subramanian.
While there have been very few, actress turned director late Vaishali Kasaravalli, wife of multiple award winning director Girish Kasaravalli, was one among the first ones to venture into serial directions. She directed popular Kannada TV serials like Muttina Torana and Moodala Mane. Even her daughter Ananya Kasaravalli directed a serial before she took up direction of short films and feature films.
Presently, director and producer Shruthi Naidu is the most prominent female director in the field who also produces serials under her home banner Shruthi Naidu Chitra. She is even producing a feature film Premier Padmini starring Navarasa Nayaka Jaggesh.
Swapna Krishna, wife of renowned cinematographer and director Krishna has been one of the success stories, and her third serial as director with Subbalakshmi Samsara, is a runaway success.
That apart, Nirmala V Channappa directs the popular Padmavati serial. There are reports that Ranjani Raghavan, who played the Puttagowri role in Puttagowri Maduve before she quit the show, is reportedly venturing into serial direction.
According to sources, the actress has been busy doing auditions and she is said to have penned the story and as well as the screenplay for her debut directions which is soon set to go on the floors. However, she has not yet made it official.
What hinders women on taking up bigger roles behind the cameras as technicians, is explained by writer Ashwini. She says that serial making is a tedious process and goes on for a longer duration of time, and it is all about team effort. “If there is a lack of communication, everything falls apart. Long hours and continuous shoots and working environment with majority of men around all the time on the time is one of the reasons.”
Whereas, filmmaker Santhosh concludes by saying that female technicians need a strong support system and in the absence of such support, it is not an ordinary ship to captain. “A majority of successful stories are closely related to successful filmmakers and hence manage to hold command of the small ships. For any newcomer, it is a herculean task,” he signs off....